Blue Run Spirits is taking the wraps off its first Private Barrel Program – unlike anything the whiskey industry has seen before. Developed by Trey Wade, Blue Run’s Chief Experience Curator, the program features elements similar to the most exciting aspects of collegiate and professional sports.

Officially dubbed “CHOSEN,” the program is designed to give consumers a much more engaging experience than simply thieving whiskey from a barrel and receiving a co-branded bottle.

Launching in February, the Blue Run Private Barrel program starts with “Scouting Season,” as Blue Run seeks out retailers and organizations that share the company’s values and vision for a broader, more diverse whiskey community and automatically brings them on board. At the same time, the brand will be spreading information on the program to other members of the whiskey community leading up to the launch of an all-inclusive opportunity for whiskey enthusiasts to get in on the action.

On the day after Super Bowl LVII, February 13, 2023, “The Portal” opens. This online experience will allow interested parties to throw their name in the “hat” for a chance to select their very own barrel(s) of Blue Run Whiskey. Potential draftees will be asked more about their organization, probed on what kind of whiskey they are looking for and asked to design their bottles, with the ability to customize their strip stamp, neck label, proof label and, perhaps most significantly, the color of Blue Run’s signature butterfly medallion. More than 750 design combinations are possible.

March 23, 2023, is “Draft Day!” With the same pomp and circumstance as the NBA, MLB, and NFL drafts, every qualified entry from “The Portal” will go into a barrel inspired by a lottery wheel, and one by one, 16 lucky entrees will be “CHOSEN” at random. The event will be streamed live on multiple online platforms for enthusiasts around the globe to tune in and see who is allocated these coveted selection experiences. “The Blue Run Draft” will have an invite-only live audience at whiskey partner Bardstown Bourbon Company in Bardstown, KY.

From there, “The Season” begins for all who have been “CHOSEN.” Participants will work directly with Wade in early spring through mid-summer in a curated fashion to uncover the profile of the whiskey best suited for them. They will select either a single barrel or create a micro-blend from inventory hand selected by Blue Run Whiskey Director Shaylyn Gammon. The barrels set aside for the program vary in age, proof and even mash bill.

The crescendo in the fall will be the Blue Run “Butterfly Gala,” a VIP launch party to showcase the creativity of each private selection, not dissimilar to the ESPYS. There, guests will get to sample various whiskeys from this year’s program and meet the other participants and those who submitted the original draft. There will even be superlatives awarded for the best barrel, best blend, and best design.

Blue Run estimates each barrel will yield an average of 170-215 bottles. Picks can include single barrels or micro-blends (blends from at least two but no more than four). The base SRP will be $199.99/750ml bottle. Roughly 50 unique customers will participate in the first year’s program.

Wade is a well-known figure in the American whiskey industry, having served as the Vice President of National Partnerships for the Black Bourbon Society for three years. An Executive Bourbon Steward, he has participated in more than 120 barrel selections and contributed to dozens of blending projects for well-known brands. In 2021, Wade collaborated with Blue Run on its inaugural 12 Days of Bourbon release, which set records for selling out 12 days in a row, each in less than two minutes.

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